Last week, I promised to share with you some of the things our family is not good at. The problem with this exercise is that anyone who knows us could pop off three things without thinking (other things) (things we don’t even know about) that would be truer than my own evaluation. So these are not necessarily the main things we’re not good at. But still, we’re not good at them.
This is not going to be one of those cutesy posts that says we’re not good at things like “holding grudges” or “ignoring people in need.” This is going to be actual confession, so hold onto your hat.
We are not good at…
1. Staying even-keeled
We seem to be the family that attracts emotional and circumstantial drama. Emergency surgeries, traumatic goodbyes, meltdowns over chores. If you need someone to make a big deal about it, we’re here. Fostering doesn’t help. Having a difficult child or two doesn’t help. But still.
We are connected and emotive, but the downside of that is that we have first graders (or maybe third graders) who burst into tears when someone else gets the good pillow for reading time at school. We expect to talk through everything. We don’t like being misunderstood, and can’t let it go until we explain. We don’t take correction meekly. We’re a little too physical with our feelings. We aren’t that good at self-regulation.
I’m not sure why this is, and I’ve spent a lot of time as a mom trying to fix it, only to realize my children came by it honestly. Each of us has sustained numerous theatrical collapses in public. Except my husband. But I don’t see how it could have come from my side of the family.
2. Healing our hurts and history
We forgive, but we don’t forget.
This is a real bummer of a trait to have in a friend or a family member, and I am sorry.
3. Living and letting live
My kids inherited from one of their parents a strong sense of truth and justice. (Hi husband. I am looking at you.) It matters too much what others are thinking and doing – not about me (that concern resides on my side of the fam) but about life and the Bible and the training of our siblings and who should get what allowance, and the latest scientific discovery and what the real issues were with our treatment of the Native Americans.
Others who are wrong should be enlightened. We are natural teachers: code for not always judging rightly whether others are interested in learning. We (and I use that word loosely) are not that good at holding our tongues and truly honoring the opinions of others, when our superior intelligence perceives that they are less accurate opinions.
(I told you this was going to be real confession.)
4. Keeping kittens alive
I can raise expensive dogs, but our cats, whom we also love, fend for themselves. We pet and coddle them, and then accidentally let them wander off or get run over by cars or caught in neighbors’ traps up in the woods.
5. Accepting unconditional love
In our best times, we do know how to give it. But we rarely feel we are worthy of receiving it. We measure ourselves by our successes and failures, and work hard for love, even when it is given to us freely.
This we are working on. Hard, of course.
Okay, I’m bored with confessing. Thank you for listening. I would ask you to take your own turn, but you didn’t agree to this exercise and I don’t believe you would do it.